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Director's Letter from Charles Marshall


Charles Marshall on the Eastern Australian coast in Ulladulla

Charles Marshall in Ulladulla, NSW, Australia

Securing UCMP's long-term future

I have been Director of UCMP for eight and a half wonderful years. During this time my appreciation for UCMP has continued to deepen as I have better understood the impact UCMP curators, staff, graduates, and volunteers have had over the years. What an amazing place!

While my pride in UCMP has steadily increased, sadly, campus support for UCMP has steadily decreased, driven by Berkeley's ongoing financial woes. Fortunately, very fortunately, thanks to your gifts, UCMP has been somewhat buffered from the rolling cuts of the last decade. Most recently, in no small part due to your letters and signatures earlier this year, the proposed campus cut for this fiscal year was reduced by half. Nonetheless, we are beyond being cut to the bone, unable to replace our retiring collections staff.

In the long run, UCMP's future will hinge on the strength of our endowments. Annie Alexander recognized this, founding UCMP with a major endowment in 1921. Her endowment has since grown 50-fold and is now our largest single source of income. More recently established endowments, including the Welles, Gregory, Honorary Barnosky, and Berry Funds (thanks to all of you who initiated and supported these endowments), all but guarantee support for graduate and undergraduate student field work and research expenses in perpetuity. But that is not enough. We already rely on short-term grants to intermittently staff the fossil prep lab, and the cuts of the last four years have meant the loss of two museum scientist positions.

Simply, UCMP needs to increase its endowments, by ~$18 million to gain full financial independence at our current staffing levels. This is a lofty goal. However, since 2010, largely through gifts left in the estates of passing alumni, UCMP has increased its Main Endowment (FU0961000) by ~$2 million, with another ~$7 million in current pledges. So I believe the goal of ~$9 million still needed is achievable.

I would love to hear from you with your ideas, strategies, contacts, gifts and pledges, as we work towards securing the long-term future of this great, great institution. Please feel free to contact me anytime.

Yours in deepest appreciation,